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Boris’s plans for beauty: building homes for life across Britain

High streets, retail parks and housing estates are all going to be targeted in the government’s new focus on aesthetics in the UK housing industry.

The government is on a mission to give ‘beauty’ far greater importance when it comes to the UK’s planning system. The Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission’s has released a new report titled ‘Creating Space for Beauty’, setting out the proposed changes.

The National Planning Policy Framework (“NPPF”) now intends to give equal attention to creating beautiful residential homes as it does sustainable development.

Bringing beauty back to the built environment

The Commission’s December report lays out a vision for failing high streets, dormant retail parks and uninspiring housing estates to be reinvented as beautiful spaces for mixed use communities. The report explains that everyone is entitled to live in a beautiful environment and beauty in buildings and amenities and open spaces should not be restricted to conservation areas and listed buildings.

Beauty is open to interpretation and can mean different things to different people. There has been a feeling in the public domain for some time that beauty had been lost in our build environment.

The original aims of the 1909 Planning Act intended “to secure the home healthy, the house beautiful, the town pleasant, the city dignified and the suburb salubrious”. There is now a movement to return to some of these building principles in 2020.

Conservatives offer new opportunity

Although a Labour victory was favoured among the architectural community, the Conservative win was welcomed by the Federation of Master Builders (FMB). Brian Berry, chief executive said:

“A Brexit Britain offers the new government an opportunity to tackle the housing crisis. We want to see a reduction in VAT on maintenance and repairs and a comprehensive national retrofit strategy to upgrade our existing housing stock.”

He added: “Business will welcome the certainty but the real challenge will be to sort out the trade deals.”

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